The New Brunswick government has become the first in Atlantic Canada to sign Ottawa's controversial Canada Job Grant agreement.

The province joins British Columbia and Ontario in doing so. The rest of the provinces and territories, including Nova Scotia, N.L. and P.E.I., are still negotiating their deal with the federal government.

Provincial and territorial governments had refused the original proposal that was the centrepiece of the 2013 federal budget. They dropped their opposition last week after Ottawa agreed to a number of changes. Quebec was the last province to agree.    

After much back and forth between the provincial and territorial governments, and the federal government, Ottawa has agreed to the following:

  • Removing the requirement for cost-matching by the provinces and territories.
  • Increasing flexibility for employer contributions to make the Canada Job Grant more accessible for small businesses.
  • Earmark a larger proportion of the program for employment and training support.
  • Perform a review of the program by December 2015 “to ensure it is meeting the needs of Canadians and employers.”

The New Brunswick government has signed an agreement in principle with the federal government on the new Canada Job Grant program.

Post Secondary Education Training and Labour Minister Jody Carr made the announcement Friday.

"We are growing our province by focusing on people, skills and jobs," said Carr. "This agreement will help us continue delivering successful and proven programs for vulnerable workers and the unemployed while providing employers a greater role in training."

Carr said the deal is worth $66 million over six years.